Dozens of refinery workers to be laid off this month in Bakersfield

Dozens of refinery workers to be laid off this month in Bakersfield

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Alon USA will begin laying off dozens of workers this month at its Bakersfield refinery.

The former Big West oil refinery on Rosedale Highway, bought by Alon in 2010, has experienced sporadic operations over the last handful of years. The plant shut down for 18 months after its former owner, Flying J, declared bankruptcy in 2008.

About 62 workers will be laid off between Jan. 28 and Feb 10, mostly due to a ripple effect from lower demand for a product made at an Alon facility in Paramount, in southern Los Angeles County.

"While good demand exists for transportation fuels in the San Joaquin Valley - particularly, diesel fuel - current configuration of the Bakersfield refinery requires feedstock oil produced as a byproduct of asphalt production at our Paramount operations. Production of asphalt at Paramount has been suspended as a result of low levels of demand, industry-wide, for asphalt in the region, thus interrupting the vacuum gas oil supply needed for Bakersfield operations," Alon spokesman Blake D. Lewis wrote to Eyewitness News.

Lewis said Alon has hopes of increasing its workforce in Bakersfield after completing a rail terminal project, which "would enable that facility to utilize a broad range of feedstocks to produce fuels there without dependence on byproducts of Paramount."

"We are looking forward to working through the permitting process, restarting the Bakersfield refinery and putting people to work in Bakersfield," he said.